Are there any Rick and Morty fans out there? In the first season of Adult Swim’s smash hit sci-fi animated series, there is a gag called “Human Music,” which pokes fun at inept family father Jerry Smith’s inability to distinguish low-fi simulated music from the real thing.
Wait a minute! This is Bucketlist, so why the fuck am I rambling about a TV show? The reason is simple: “Human Music” is the most accurate comparison I am able to make with the minimal techno of Lawrence, Kansas duo Shitshow. Their album Roadside Restroom Attraction, out independently since February 2nd, 2020, is a straightforward offering of minimal techno that completely lacks the subtle charm of its genre.
The sixteen tracks comprising Roadside Restroom Attraction are sprinkled with a precious few enjoyable moments such as “Mangled,” with its pseudo-funk feel and deliciously detuned keyboard parts. Sadly, these are buried in a Chinese water torture session of stupidly simple looping beats and dad-joke-worthy lyrics repeated over and over. It’s a good thing that I have a tolerance for repetitive music, because otherwise, I would not have sat through this; and I don’t think the average listener should even bother trying to.
Just when you think it can’t get worse, this album punishes the listener with two God-awful penultimate tracks. The angry, aimless, and toneless track, “Poodle Yappin Tho,” makes way for metal screams (?!?!) in “Beat Around the Bush,” turning my exasperation into desperation.
Here’s the thing: good repetitive music has appeal because it conveys a simple emotion very strongly. The great black metal artists of the 90s understood and applied this principle to express their solitude and sorrow. Bands like Windir are Ulver are prime examples of how to achieve the unlikely feat of getting people to enjoy several minutes straight of the same fucking riff played over and over to a blast beat.
Shitshow did nothing of the sort and will quickly be forgotten unless they step up their creative thinking and produce music embracing the above principle.
Written by Henri Brillon
*edited by Danielle Kenedy